An annual series that attempts to figure out which of the major recruiting services had the best read on a recruiting class. You get three points for the best, two for second, one for third, with ties adding all those up and splitting it. Note that the higher the rank the more willing I am to make a distinction between takes. #20 is different than #60; #200 is the same as #240.
No significant differences:
- Jeremy Clark. The sites missed on Clark (if he plays well in his sixth year and gets drafted) since they didn't think he could play corner. He was a generic three star to all.
- Allen Gant. Nobody was optimistic here. FWIW, ESPN was the most thunderously pessimistic, ranking him the #150 WR and #72 player in Ohio.
- Jarrod Wilson. Wilson was a mid-four star to everyone; Scout put him #245 but actually had him lower positionally than anyone else. Wilson performed to his rating.
- Matt Godin. Godin got one four-star ranking from 24/7; they rated him the #17 SDE and #11 in the state while folks who offered three stars ranked him #8 and #10 in-state and around 30th as a DT, which has twice as many guys as SDE. Those are more or less the same ranking despite the star difference. He was a quintessential 3/4 star tweener and played exactly like it.
- Ben Braden. Generic three star to the world, and that was about right. Braden was co-Sleeper of the Year along with Chesson. Willie Henry was the best pick; Chesson and Braden were probably #2 and #3 depending on how you feel about Jeremy Clark.
- Jehu Chesson. Also a generic three star to everyone.
- Sione Houma. Fullback. ESPN only gave two stars but actually had him higher positionally than anyone else.
Not Applicable: Kaleb Ringer had microfracture surgery as a freshman and never recovered. He transferred to Ferris State. Sites were more or less in agreement on him in any case.
Note: ESPN only ranked out to 150 this year.
A universal four star despite his diminutive size, Richardson barely played and eventually transferred to Marshall. This was not the finest day for any of the scouting services but ESPN was the wrongest, placing him #68 in the country. 247 (#142), Scout(#183), and Rivals(#224) were more skeptical by degrees but not far enough apart to make a distinction.
1st(T): 24/7, Scout, Rivals
Another universal four-star with not much playing time to his name, Ross flashed big talent but ended up watching for most of his career. While this was a miss by everyone, Scout(#83) and 247(#116) were the highest on him, with Rivals (#172) a hair more skeptical. ESPN wins the prize for leaving him at the bottom of their four-star rankings with an 80.
3rd(T): Scout, 24/7
The third in a series of four star guys who didn't pan out; ESPN(#111) and Scout(#113) were higher on RJS by a wide enough margin to ding them relative to Rivals(#184) and 247(#209).
1st(T): Rivals, 24/7
3rd(T): Scout, ESPN
Played a ton, but never particularly well. Ended up undrafted; Michigan upgraded with new faces after his departure. Should have been a high three star; was instead universally hailed with 247(#58) and Scout(#69) significantly higher on him than Rivals(#111) and ESPN(#142).
1st(T): Rivals, ESPN
3rd(T): 24/7, Scout
Finally someone a recruiting service underrated. Wormley was infamously dissed by Josh Helmholdt for his lack of motor; Rivals gave him a generic three star ranking that stands out as the biggest miss of the cycle. He was their #22 player in Ohio... after being the subject of a heated Michigan-OSU recruiting battle. Okay.
Everyone else offered four stars, with 24/7(#72) much higher on him than Scout (#164) and ESPN (unranked four-star). Wormley turned into a stalwart DE/DT who should be off the draft board by the end of day two. 24/7 was thus bang on.
2nd(T): Scout, ESPN
One of the biggest busts of the class, Strobel was a four-star guy to three services. Despite being radically undersized for DT, Strobel was sent there early in his career, emerging as a redshirt junior after Michigan lost their top two nose tackles. Strobel was overrun and not offered a fifth year.
ESPN was the lone skeptic and they were very skeptical. He was the #29 player in OH and the #61 DE. Scout(#93) missed most badly, with 24/7(#198) and Rivals (unranked four star, albeit in front of Wormley) more or less tied for second.
2nd(T): 24/7, Rivals
Despite a large split in opinion I think I have to punt here. Ojemudia was in the midst of a breakout season as a senior when he went down with an achilles injury in game five, i.e. the very instant it was too late to redshirt. Also he was one of the most insane burned redshirt of the Hoke era, getting spot time in nine games as a 230 pound DE.
So was he a four star and guy just outside the top 200 (ESPN, Scout) or a generic three star (24/7, Rivals)? Yes. Also no.
Nobody thought much of Henry when he committed but Scout offered him a reasonably high ranking (#38 DT); the rest of the services (#59 OH, #97 DT, #54 OH) had him in the "if we gave out two stars any more this guy would have two stars" range.
2nd(T): 24/7, Rivals, ESPN
Pipkins had an ACL injury that hampered his career but was healthy enough to play the year after his injury and three years removed from it at Texas Tech, so his lack of impact was probably more about his ability. Everyone missed here; ESPN (four-star outside the top 150, #16 DT) was significantly more skeptical than the rest. Rivals gave him five stars and ranked him in the top 20; Scout and 24/7 had him just outside the top 50.
2nd(T): 24/7, Scout
Everyone except ESPN was in a tight band from #71 to #82 overall; ESPN had him a four-star and the #27 OT in the country. I was ready to punt on this since Magnuson was kind of at the midpoint but both Seth and Ace were strongly in favor of the latter ranking.
2nd(T): Scout, 24/7, Rivals
Rivals was the only service to offer Bars a fourth star; they ranked him the #32 OT. The next most optimistic service, ESPN, had him #54. Bars never played and transferred away.
1st: 24/7, ESPN, Scout
Played a bunch; like Bolden never played particularly well. Has some chance of getting drafted late. Should not have been a five star; Scout(#35) and Rivals(#22) gave him one. 24/7 was significantly more skeptical (#61) and ESPN more skeptical yet(#132).
3rd(T): Scout, Rivals
Generic three star tight end rankings from three services. Scout offered him a fourth, ranked him as an OT, and placed him #225 overall. While Williams did have his late Harbaugh surge, the skeptics were correct.
1st: 24/7, Rivals, ESPN
Another bad miss by Rivals in the Midwest, as a future second-round pick with obvious eye-popping athleticism got three stars from them. Everyone else offered four, with ESPN the most optimistic. He was just outside their (then) top 150 and the #5 TE.
2nd(T): Scout, 24/7
Another guy with three sites in a tight range, this from #199 to #215. ESPN whiffed badly, ranking Darboh the #82 WR and a three-star. The other sites were bang on.
1st(T): Rivals, Scout, 24/7
Sigh. Norfleet made a terrible decision to sign up for a Brady Hoke/Al Borges joint that had less than zero use for a tiny running back, but it must be stated that he should not have been a four star. ESPN was the lone service to dump Norfleet way down their list (#80 RB, #26 MI); the other three sites had him a solid four star from #163 to #236. And they probably would have been right if Norfleet had gone to Kansas State or something.
2nd(T): Scout, Rivals, 24/7
Your 2012 Recruiting Class Rankings Winner is...
ESPN. By a landslide.
- ESPN: 30 points
- 24/7: 24 points
- Rivals: 18 points
- Scout: 17.5 points
It sucks for Michigan that they won largely because they thought a bunch of guys were overrated relative to the rest of the services; on the other hand, ESPN says Michigan has a terrific class this year. So we've got that going for us.
24/7 won the 2011 class, which had fewer points up for grabs since so many of those gentlemen were in the generic three-star void. Your two-year totals:
- ESPN: 39.5
- 24/7: 36.5
- Rivals: 25
- Scout: 24.5
Ron Bellamy Day. From WH. Part II is here.
Remember that one time an otherwise obscure/disappointing player was a superstar for a day?
Full game is on the youtubes.
Smoothitron: I went through his game log not that long ago praying that wasn't his career high, and it's not, but it's close.
The pinnacle stretch of Spike's career was tragically unfun.
[Do NOT hit THE JUMP if you prefer to fondly remember erstwhile highly hyped Michigan scatbacks]
Friday, January 13, 2017
#9 Minnesota 5, Michigan 2
Minn 0 Mich 1 EV 08:57 Assists: Allen & Winborg
The puck’s dumped in, and though that’s usually not a great way to generate offense it works here because Allen’s essentially dumping it to the corner to himself. Getting rid of the puck allows him to use his forward momentum against the back-skating, mid-turn defender without worrying about the puck being knocked away.
Winborg, who’s in the faceoff circle in the screencap above, gets into excellent position behind the net. He’s there to set a pick as Minnesota switches defenders, with the one in the bottom of the faceoff circle in the above screencap the man who’s picked off. Allen has the space behind the two to poke the puck ahead, skate through, and retrieve it.
Allen gets the puck and has a huge passing lane with which to work. Schierhorn’s got to whip his head from tracking behind the net to the side of the net to the high slot too quickly for him to do much about a shot attempt.
Minnesota’s forwards all collapse on net and watch behind the net, which allows Shuart a perfect and completely undefended chance. He puts the puck high on Schierhorn, who can do no more than flinch.
mfw the evil Kohl Center vibes kick in [Patrick Barron]
Entering the contest, Michigan’s defense had been on a dreadful run of form, but the Wolverines played an ugly half of basketball to trail 26-21 at the break; Michigan’s offense was completely out of sorts outside of some nice play from Zak Irvin, but they managed to hold Wisconsin well under a point per possession as a Badger offense seemingly too committed to pounding the ball inside didn’t move the ball well. It was the best half of defense Michigan had played in some time.
An extended 17-2 stretch (which was fueled by some great effort defensively) gave Michigan a 38-30 lead in the second half, but a sequence of early fouls put Wisconsin in the bonus early and the Badgers were able to assert themselves on the offensive end – their run to take the lead was keyed by an offensive rebound on a missed free throw that led to a three.
Michigan’s defense gave up 42 points in the second half, though a decent amount of those points came as the Wolverines intentionally fouled to extend the game. Bronson Koenig had some big threes for the Badgers after the game was tied at 49 with five minutes left; Duncan Robinson – who contributed some offensively – left him wide open off an elevator screen on one, and Derrick Waltonwas juked into leaving him open in the corner on another. Moritz Wagner, who dealt with foul trouble in the second half, and the Michigan offense couldn’t respond. DJ Wilson also was limited by fouls and held scoreless after a red-hot start to Big Ten play.
All of the quintessential Kohl Center elements were present: some brick-heavy low-scoring basketball in the first half, some dubious whistles (that resulted in a few make-up calls for Michigan, to be fair) in the second, and an inexorable Wisconsin run late to seize the game and put it out of reach by hitting enough of their free throws – a pair of Nigel Hayes misses notwithstanding – down the stretch.
Michigan’s defense looked much better, despite the talented Badger big man combo of Ethan Happ and Hayes, but ultimately they gave up 1.09 PPP – and their offense wasn’t quite efficient enough to get the win (the Wolverines were just 12-30 from inside the arc). The loss drops them to 2-4 in Big Ten play, though if they can replicate their success on the defensive side of the floor, a turnaround could be in the offing. At the very least, they need to beat an Illinois team – that recently routed them – on Saturday, as they're quickly running out of time.
|WHAT||Michigan (12-6, 2-3 B1G) at
Wisconsin (14-3, 3-1)
|WHEN||9 pm ET, Tuesday|
|LINE||Wisconsin -10 (KenPom)
Wisconsin -11 (Vegas)
PBP: Dave Flemming
Analyst: Dan Dakich
Right: cheese. Cheese never changes.
Michigan exits the easy bit of their schedule at 2-3 in the Big Ten and now stares down a gauntlet-like substance. Since this is the worst Big Ten in a while—just two teams in the Kenpom top 25—that gauntlet isn't the death sentence it might have been a few years ago. It's still not good, and Michigan kicks it off with the Big Ten's one elite tempo-free team: eternal, unchangeable Wisconsin.
Good news: Michigan's the best offense in the league and by a bit of distance. Bad news: Michigan is the worst defense in the league by a thousand miles. They are currently on pace to be the worst Big Ten defense in the Kenpom era, which stretches back to 2002.
But you knew that already. You can see with your eyes.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||3||Zak Showalter||Sr.||6'3, 185||67||14||130||No|
|Barely shoots, low assist rate, good defender|
|G||24||Bronson Koenig||Sr.||6'3, 190||72||21||122||Not At All|
|Primary sniper, 40% on 119 3s. Efficient inside arc as well.|
|F||30||Vitto Brown||Sr.||6'8, 235||53||19||107||No|
|Low usage, high efficiency stretch 4. TO prone.|
|F||10||Nigel Hayes||Sr.||6'8, 240||74||25||115||Not Really|
|Lead dog shoots a ton of midrange jumpers w/ decent efficiency. Good passer. Gets to the line a lot, converts at only 63%|
|C||20||Ethan Happ||So.||6'10, 232||63||26||120||Very|
|Efficient, high-usage post scorer, passes well, dismal FT%|
|G||0||D'Mitrik Trice||Fr.||6'0, 178||45||16||123||Not At All|
|Clone of his brother Travis. Ululating woman on FTs will be his mom.|
|G||21||Khalil Iverson||So.||6'5, 212||40||18||111||Very|
|Petway-esque jumping-jack swingman will get his on putbacks mostly|
|F||25||Alex Illakainen||So.||6'9, 232||25||11||104||Not Really|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]
Anthony Cowan [Maryland Athletics]
Last Week’s Results
Indiana 72 - Maryland 75
Minnesota 47 - Michigan State 65
Michigan 69 - Illinois 85
Ohio State 66 - Wisconsin 89
Northwestern 69 - Rutgers 60
Purdue 78 - Iowa 83
Nebraska 85 - Michigan 91
Minnesota 50 - Penn State 52
Maryland 62 - Illinois 56
Rutgers 57 - Indiana 76
Michigan State 67 - Ohio State 72
Iowa 54 - Northwestern 89
1. Maryland (4-1)
2. Wisconsin (3-1)
T-3. Michigan State (4-2)
T-3. Northwestern (4-2)
T-5. Nebraska (3-2)
T-5. Penn State (3-2)
T-5. Purdue (3-2)
T-8. Iowa (3-3)
T-8. Minnesota (3-3)
T-10. Illinois (2-3)
T-10. Indiana (2-3)
T-10. Michigan (2-3)
13. Ohio State (1-4)
14. Rutgers (0-6)
A Dark Horse Emerges
Since joining the Big Ten for the 2014-15 season, Maryland has been one of the best programs in the conference, posting an impressive 30-11 record in league games and finishing in the top three in both seasons that have been completed with the Terrapins as a member. Despite losing four starters before this season, UMD is the surprising outright leader of the Big Ten early on this season (it’s worth noting that Wisconsin is tied in the loss column, but has played one less game than Maryland has). Non-conference play offered little indication that Maryland would get off to such a hot start; they barely beat a couple of bad teams and won three games against decent opponents by just a single point.
Melo Trimble has been a huge part of Maryland’s success, of course - although his offensive rating (92.9) and usage rate (30.7, third-highest among B1G players in conference play) likely aren’t sustainable. Freshman Anthony Cowan, who was correctly compared to Trimble often as a recruit, has arguably been better, as he’s been able to score at the rim and get frequent trips to the free throw line despite his lack of size. Another freshman - Kevin Huerter - has also excelled, shooting an impressive 46% from behind the arc with 13 made threes in five conference games. Damonte Dodd, a senior big man coming off of an injury-related absence, has been the cornerstone of Maryland’s excellent defense when he’s been on the floor; Ivan Bender and LG Gil also receive minutes at the five.
It’s difficult to assess how much of Maryland’s early success in Big Ten play is schedule-related: they’ve swept a mediocre Illinois team, beat Indiana at home in what was essentially a coin-flip game, and won on the road against Michigan. Their only loss came after blowing a double-digit lead late at home against Nebraska. While their remaining schedule is relatively unchallenging compared to those of other teams, it’s probably more difficult than the games they’ve already played. Kenpom has Maryland just inside the top 50 nationally - a far cry from the quality of supposed Big Ten title contenders. A lot of that is due to their non-conference schedule, which resulted in a lot of wins that weren’t well-regarded by his algorithm.
Whether or not the Terps regress to the mean will be a major storyline. Many people (including myself) have been predicting that regression for quite a while, only to see Maryland continue to put up wins on the floor. Since they’ve been so dominant since entering the Big Ten, there’s good reason to think that they might continue to flaunt statistical wisdom, despite their youth. Maryland’s an undeniably talented team and having an excellent point guard helps bring everything together.
More on Big Ten hoops after the JUMP